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A STORM, A LATE BIRTHDAY GUITAR AND OTHER TWISTS OF FATE...

A storm is raging outside my window this February Sunday afternoon. It has been given the title ‘Storm Ciara’ by the Met Office and is causing flooding and travel disruption all across the UK. Emi and I were planning to make our daily trip to Wakefield to visit my mother who is now in a respite care home but the severe winds and rain have caused us to stay put. Our garden is becoming flooded and the sewer seems to be bursting and bringing foul water to the surface.


Mum has been in the care home for about three weeks now after leaving the rehabilitation centre on Eastmoor where she spent Christmas and New Year. She made little progress in the rehab centre, failing to regain enough mobility to warrant continuing her stay there, but she was told that she wasn’t fit enough to go home either. Respite care was suggested as the safest course of action, hence her current situation.


The care home she is in is right next door to the rehab centre on Eastmoor, so we’re making the same trip each day to Wakefield from York to spend time with her, trying to keep her spirits up.

However, because of Mum’s determination and insistence about going home, a care package has been arranged and a hospital bed installed in the dining room of her house, (along with other neccesary equipment,) and, all being well, she will finally return home next Wednesday, just over four months since she was admitted to hospital.


Whilst this will come as a relief to her it will be slightly more stressful for members of her family as there won’t be the 24 hour care afforded by being in the care home. Of course, she will have professional carers call on her four times per day but will be alone through the night. But as she said, she won’t know how well she will cope with this arrangement unless she tries. So, it’s fingers crossed time...

As a consequence of our regular visits to Wakefield and the amount of time it’s taken out of each day, I’ve found it very difficult to allocate sufficient time for writing these journal entries. This is the first one to be posted for several weeks and each evening, on our return from Wakefield, I’ve attempted to get as much work done in my studio as possible.


The creation of new music has been further slowed by the fact that my Cubase software recording system is far more time consuming to use than my old Mackie hardware, which was more immediate and less convoluted. I am now much more conversant with the Cubase system’s operation but I’m still frustrated by its, (to my mind,) unnecessary complexity and the need to constantly look at small text in endless drop-down menus on screen. (Not helped by my diabetes-damaged eyesight which has deteriorated even more of late.)


Nevertheless, despite this I am managing to record new music and have now enough tracks completed to make up a new album. I need to sort through these tracks and put them into some sort of running order. Once that is achieved, the next step will be to create the artwork for it.


I’m thinking of calling the album ‘The Navigator’ as it will basically be a record of me trying to navigate my way around an unfamiliar recording system. I plan to make this a download only album to see what fans make of the new process. I’ll let the album ‘jump the queue’ ahead of all the other albums awaiting release but will also decide on which of those other albums gets released next fairly soon, (perhaps simultaneously with 'The Navigator.'). And whichever album I eventually choose, it will be released as a physical CD.


The Isana Black Pearl guitar that arrived damaged on my birthday in December was finally replaced by the Thomann company, (though this was frustratingly delayed by the Christmas and New Year holidays.) The replacement Black Pearl arrived from Thomann undamaged this time but the guitar’s action, at the top of the fretboard, was unusually high so I took the instrument to Gordon White of Single Coil Guitar Repairs in Leeds to sort it out. Gordon has done an absolutely spot-on job and the guitar now plays beautifully. I’ll be using it tonight on a new instrumental I’m hoping to get underway.


The sky outside briefly brightened about an hour ago and the rain temporarily stopped but now it’s as black as night and pouring it down again. I can hear the wind blowing strongly in the background.

Meanwhile, the turbulence is not limited to the weather: Since my previous journal entry, we have a new prime minister in the unlikely, and in my case unwelcome, shape of Boris Johnson. It’s hard to believe that the Tories were voted in yet again after the controversy and problems they’ve created over the last several years. That they won the election with such a large majority boggles the imagination, especially as many Northern ‘working class’ folk, supposedly staunch Labour party supporters, betrayed Labour and voted for one of the most right wing governments we’ve been landed with in years.

There was an interview on television with a Northern chap who was asked why he voted Tory. This man had never voted Tory in his life, always being a Labour supporter. His reply to the question was that he wanted ‘change’ whilst pointing to the empty shops on his high street as one example of why this change was needed. When the interviewer pointed out that he’d voted for the same party that had been in power for years and was perhaps responsible for his woes, the man looked blankly at the interviewer and muttered, “we need change...” As someone once said, ‘never underestimate the power of stupid people in large groups...’


And while we’re on the subject, Donald ‘I’m the greatest president that’s ever been in the entire history of the entire world’ Trump managed to worm his way out of his impeachment trial by not allowing any witnesses to testify to his wrong doings. America has become a country ruled by a narcissistic tin-pot dictator, it seems. And we here in the UK need to be very wary of similar tactics becoming the norm here. What a world...


An Isana 'Black Pearl' guitar, identical to the one I bought as a 71st Birthday present to myself.


Will this be the next physical CD album release? Quite a few to choose from in the archives!


A flyer for the 'Old Haunts' album. This one shows Blackpool's 'Winter Gardens' where I went

© Bill Nelson 2020

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